“How should the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston position itself for the 2010 opening of the American Art Wing?”
As an Arts Administration student, this would not be an uncommon question to hear in the Bolz Center. However, this question and ensuing discussion took place in Marketing 700, a core requirement for all first year MBA students. As we analyzed a case study from Harvard Business School, the conversation engaged everyone in the room: students in Arts Administration, Supply Chain Management, Real Estate, Finance, Marketing Research, Operations, Risk Management, Brand and Product Management, Human Resources, and Applied Securities Analysis. Not only was art present in the content of the case itself, but it was also fundamental in the way that the room synthesized diverse ideas, opinions, and backgrounds.
Within our own Arts Administration classroom, we have had the privilege of talking about the arts and arts management with seven leaders in the Madison area. From a city director to a performing arts center president, we have had panels and coffee meetings with a wide range of professionals, tapping into the arts community with those on the front lines. This type of material—in-person dialogue with arts and cultural leaders themselves—cannot be gleaned from a textbook.
While I am gaining a strong grasp on the foundation of arts administration and arts management through courses and conversations with arts leaders, the best part about the Bolz Center program is the opportunity to put my newfound knowledge to use (in real time!). As a project assistant with the Bolz Center, I am helping craft and deliver a new campus-wide Arts Business Initiative that will create connections for members of the community, helping forge interdisciplinary associations that do not seem as obvious on paper. A highlight of the program is becoming the teaching assistant for the Arts Enterprise course, a spring-semester class that shines a light on the unique contexts, challenges, and opportunities of creative careers and the structure of art enterprises. Currently the arts have a strong presence on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, and as I begin to examine its role, I have learned one thing: I want to learn more.